Discretionary Financial Support Schemes

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Discretionary Hardship Support April 2023 to March 2024

Household Support Fund (HSF) & Individual Assistance Payment (IAP)

Discretionary Hardship Support Policy (PDF, 839.24KB)

These schemes are intended to alleviate hardship and support those most in need that have been affected by the significant rising in cost of living and are suffering financial hardship.

The HSF is funded entirely by the Government via the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the IAP scheme is fully funded by the Council.

Additional, government funded, Cost of Living Support may also be available to you. Please visit the Cost of Living Support page on GOV.UK.

Support may be provided against (but not limited to):

  • the cost of living
  • energy costs and arrears
  • the provision of essential white goods and furniture (emergency need only)

The support allows residents who face a variety of challenges, time to find alternative solutions to shortfalls in income and help with the cost of living on a short term and temporary basis and it should not be seen as a permanent solution.

Housing costs can only be considered in exceptional circumstances where existing housing support schemes such as Housing Benefit, Universal Credit Housing Element, Discretionary Housing Payment and homeless prevention support do not meet the exceptional need.

In addition, the Household Support Fund, which is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, will help families over the school half term holiday breaks by providing Free School Meal (FSM) vouchers to all pupil premium free school meals eligible children. These will be issued direct to those children via the attended in borough school office.

Parents of children living within Barking and Dagenham but attending school OUTSIDE of the local authority area should email benefits@lbbd.gov.uk to claim these vouchers.

The Council have launched one online application form for all current discretionary funding schemes (paper forms are available upon request).

The Council Welfare service currently administers and operates four discretionary funding schemes:

  • Discretionary Council Tax Relief Scheme (DCTR)
  • Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)
  • Individual Assistance Payment (IAP) (Local Hardship)
  • Household Support Fund (HSF)

The Council will consider applications received for all eligible funding. The online application form can also be treated as a claim for Council Tax Support and Free School Meals where there is eligibility and entitlement unless you do not wish to receive these additional benefits.